What a great week for NEMA's government relations team. First, Congress enacted the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act of 2008. Next, it ratified the U.S.-India Civilian Nuclear Agreement. Then today, the House came back and finished the job on the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. This latter bill is particularly important to NEMA members, because it includes provisions from the Renewable Energy and Jobs Creation Act lobbied by NEMA throughout the year that affect deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Among them: an extention of the energy-efficient commercial buildings tax deduction through 2013, accelerated depreciation for smart meters and smart-grid systems, and extension of the tax credit for energy-efficient improvements to existing and new homes.
Recognizing that none of these measures will have an immediate impact on our industry's economic condition — save, of course, for a loosening up of the credit markets due to passage of the EESA 2008 — when we do start seeing a pick-up in business down the road, we'll be able to point to the legislative gains this week as one of the underlying reasons.